Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas Greetings

Happy 3rd Birthday Evan!

I can't believe it's been 3 years already. He's such a big boy! So smart and courious, kind and loving. So much fun to have!

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Last Saturday we got a bit of snow, so after lunch Jon took the boys out and they made 3 snow people. Frosty, Mrs. Frosty and baby Frosty and Evan named them. It was lots and lots of fun.

Sadly though we woke up Sunday to another dump of snow and this time it was heavy wet stuff and it had toppled our snow people over.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What's for Dinner: Sloppy Joes

I know many people have Sloppy Joe memories stretching back from their childhoods, well I don't. I don't know if it was just not something my mom made, or if she didn't make it knowing my dad would not consider this a meal. So my first real introduction to Sloppy Joes was at Jon's Grandma Brewster's home while we were still dating. My only memory is grease. Then a few months ago my friend Michelle gave me a recipe for Sloppy Joes, I made it, and it was ok but Jon said we didn't have to make them again. So when my trial issue of Cook's Country came and Sloppy Joes was one of the recipes I thought I'd give it one last time, and I'm sure glad I did. Not only was it a winner with the whole family flavor wise, but it's one of their recipe makeovers in which a normal Sloppy Joe (including the bun) is 570 calories with 30 grams of fat and 10 grams of Saturated fat. Their version is only 300 calories (including bun) with 9 grams of fat, and 3 grams of Saturated fat. It makes a big difference, I don't have to feel guilty about eating 2 and with a salad it makes a great dinner! So here is the recipe, try try try it at home and then let me know what you think.

Cook's Country Reduced-Fat Sloppy Joe

Serves 4.

2 tsp vegetable oil
6 oz white mushrooms, sliced thin
1 small onion, minced
1 1/4 tsp chili powder
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tab. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. cider vinegar
10 oz 93% lean ground beef
salt and pepper
4 Hamburger buns.

1. Process Mushrooms. heat 1 tsp. oil over med-high heat in large nonstick skillet until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to food processor and pulse until mushrooms are finely ground.

2. Make Sauce. Heat remaining oil in empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Cook onion and processed mushrooms, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 12 minutes. Stir in chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire, sugar, water and vinegar. Simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are completely tender and sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

3. Simmer Beef. Add beef and simmer, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture among buns. Serve.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What's for Dinner? - Chicken Pot Pie

At 3:45 pm yesterday I thought to my self, "What's for dinner." I didn't want to go the grocery store, we had already been out all day, and I wanted to use what we had. I'd been looking online earlier in the day at some cakes on the King Arthur Flour site and found a recipe for Classic Chicken Pot Pie. B I N G O! I knew I had stuff to make a crust and had some frozen chicken I could use. Little did I know that 2 hours later we would be eating the best Pot Pie ever! Legendary!

I followed their crust exactly, including the buttermilk powder. If you don't have this and live near me come borrow some, but it's well worth having on hand. I started the filling but realized upon opening the freezer that I didn't have peas or pearl onions. This is where the recipe became mine. Instead of peas I used about 1/2 cup of green beans, and I peeled one carrot. I looked at the mixture and realized the recipe had no potatoes and for some reason I really like potatoes in pot pie. I ran down stairs to get a few potatoes and noticed I had a mini butternut squash and thought why not. Both are what really made it! Try the recipe and let me know what you think!

Go to the King Arthur Flour site and print the recipe. Follow their directions for the crust and the start of the filling, except bellow is what I used in my filling. Par cook your potatoes and butter nut squash together. Peel both and chop into 1 inch pieces, and cook in about 1/4 cup of water in the microwave on the cook veggie setting for about 3-5 minutes. They won't be soft yet but it will make for soft potatoes later.

6 Tablespoons butter
6 Tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2-3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon dried minced onions
Pinch of : Tarragon, Thyme and Parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 of a butter nut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup frozen green beans
2 carrots, peeled and cut into slices

Put into a 9x13 cover with crust and bake for 45-60 minutes.

This recipe can also be cut in half if you don't want a big 9x13, that's what I did, but next time I would just make the whole thing and same some for lunch the next day.
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Turkey Cookies

Have you ever had a memory of something from your childhood that you then try to recreate. Turkey Cookies are somehow in my brain I don't know where they fit in or why I remember them. I thought it would be fun to make them with our Activity Day Girls. It's a great no-bake idea.

What you need:

1 bag of ginger snaps
1 bag of candy corn
2-3 Rollo packages (the chocolate and Carmel candies)
Some red hots, if desired
1 recipe for royal icing (2-3 eggs yokes, 4-5 cups of powdered sugar, mix 5 minutes until stiff)

What you do: On one ginger snap you use the royal icing (glue) to affix the candy corn with the large part out, forming the feathers of the Turkey. Then you affix a candy corn piece to your Rollo to make the head. Use another ginger snap for the bottom, Glue your Rollo to the bottom and the back. Let dry and eat!

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What's for Dinner? - Chipotle Enchiladas

So often the question is What's for Dinner? How many times have you web surfed trying to find just that right recipe that not only looks good in the pictures but that also takes less than 30 minutes to make, has only ingredients that you have in your house, that your husband and kids will eat, that is healthy and the list goes on. So here is one, Lighter Chicken Enchiladas, (click the link for the recipe) I like to call them Chipotle Enchiladas. A little on the spicy side (which we just love) it was a find out of Everyday Food, a Martha Stewart venture. And yes you might not have a can of Chipotles in adobo, but it's an easy find in the Latin section of your super market, and don't forget the pepper jack cheese, it's worth it. If you don't like the spice just half the chipotles, and make sure to take the seeds out. Let me know if you like!

The Fireman and his Monkey

Happy Halloween, we had lots of fun, and are eating way too much candy, hope you are too!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thanks Grandma Balke for the Halloween Package!

There are many downfalls to having Grandma live 700 miles away, but one perk is that she always thinks about us and sends packages of goodies for the boys. Today we got a Halloween package with cute stickers, enough candy to last a few days and some way cute clothes for the boys. Thanks so much Grandma!!!

Enjoying the candy already!!!
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First Pies of the Season

Pie season is fast approaching! Ok, Thanksgiving is fast approaching and we normally eat pies, but I've got to warm up my fingers and oven and try a few out. Last Sunday it was Pumpkin and Apple Pie. Both came out better than expected. If your looking for recipes I don't have anything fancy. I like Martha Stewart's Pate Brisee (Pie Dough) and I always follow the traditional Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe. Give yourself some time withe the pie dough, it really needs to be refrigerated, but comes out great!

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Rag Quilt for Alexis

My cousin Alexis is getting married!! It is exciting and so are bridal showers. I really didn't feel comfortable buying a nightie or something so I went for some Amy Butler fabric and whipped up a rag quilt. It was hard to give away because I feel in love, love, love with the fabric (I might have to make my self a bag) but I'm really happy with the out come and I think she really liked it! I'm trying to get a response from those who read my blog (if there is really anyone) if you want me to put up a tutorial so you can do this project too. Let me know me know by your comments. Thanks!

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Halloween Trick or Treat Bags

As a follow up to the fabric buying in previously mentioned posts, here they are! Halloween Trick or Treat Bags made by me! And yes I'm most excited because I got them done a whole 2 weeks before Halloween. Each has a black felt band around the bottom and various Halloween prints to make up the top. Each bag measure approximately 16X15 inches and is lined with a coordinating fabric. Yes you might say this is a little big for a 1 year old but I'm thinking down the road when they are 5 and 7 and are really trying to collect the candy! I decided to personalize each bag with the boys names, the letters cut from felt and then glued and stitched on. I'm very proud of this.
I hope you like them as much as we do! I'm sure we will get plenty of candy.

My dear friend Kristine wanted to make her boys Ian and Josh some trick or treat bags too, so here's the gang and their bags.!

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Monday, October 19, 2009


We made it over to Cornbellys at Thanksgiving Point this year. I thought we'd be there a few hours at the most, but we ended up being there all day. It was tons of fun!! So glad we went.

Evan and Dean riding the cow train.

The group of kids we went with.

Evan and Whitney pumping water on the Duck races.

Dean and Mommy.

Evan being a cowboy and swimming in the sea of corn.

The side was fun, I even went down it a few times with Evan while Dean took his nap in the stroller.